Fastbreak: Florida routs Jacksonville 79-34

Florida Gators basketball (6-4) won its third-straight game by running roughshod over the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-9) on Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

UF only held a 10-point lead at the half but routed JU in the latter 20 minutes, using a 28-4 half-spanning scoring stretch to run the Dolphins out of the building as the Gators picked up an impressive 79-34 victory at home.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Sunday’s action with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: The Gators opened the second half just as hot as they closed the first, erupting on a 22-4 run (28-4 spanning the half) with a pair of threes from junior guard Michael Frazier plus one each from redshirt juniors forward Dorian Finney-Smith and G Eli Carter to double-up the visiting Dolphins with a 56-28 lead. Florida never looked back, using a game-ending 15-0 run (including another Frazier trey) to extend its advantage to a game-high 45 points.

Prominent players: Finney-Smith was dominant on Sunday, posting a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting (5-of-7 from beyond the arc). He also added six boards and two dimes to his line. Nearly equalling his teammate’s effectiveness was Frazier, who went 8-for-14 from the field and 6-for-11 from long range to finish with 22 points and six rebounds. The duo combined for 59.4 percent of the team’s scoring and 84.6 percent of its makes from downtown.

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida routs Jacksonville 79-34

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. JU Dolphins

Florida Gators basketball (5-4) is back above .500 and looks to turn over the weekend with consecutive victories when it hosts the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-8) on Sunday.

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

TV: Fox Sports Network (James Bates, Larry Conley)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 102/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS JACKSONVILLE DOLPHINS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Tony Jasick
Record: 5-4 Record: 2-8
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Sun

Odds: OFF

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. JU Dolphins

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Florida baseball fights past mid-week losses, earns impressive sweep of Mizzou in Gainesville

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

No. 12 Florida Gators baseball ended a rough week on a high note by sweeping its third-straight Southeastern Conference home series.

It looked like any momentum Florida had from last week’s sweep of Georgia had faded when UF dropped back-to-back mid-week home games to the Jacksonville Dolphins (3-1) and Florida A&M Rattlers (4-3).

The Gators (30-15, 15-6 SEC) managed to turn things around over the weekend against the Missouri Tigers (19-24, 6-15 SEC), complementing standout performances on the mound with terrific run support at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Continue Reading » Florida baseball fights past mid-week losses, earns impressive sweep of Mizzou in Gainesville

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SIX BITS: Noah, Murphy, Delta, volleyball, Tebow

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has long held up former South African president Nelson Mandela as one of his idols. So for Noah to easily have his best game of the 2013-14 season on the day of Mandela’s passing was certainly no surprise. On Thursday, Noah posted his second-straight double-double with 17 points (on 6-of-9 shooting) and a season-high 15 rebounds in a 107-87 win over Miami. After the contest, he was interviewed by TNT’s Craig Sager and ended the conversation like this:

2 » The Florida Gators are expected to have major frontcourt troubles next season with big-bodied seniors – center Patric Young and forwards Casey Prather and Will Yeguete – all scheduled to graduate. One of its other big men is on shaky ground and a fifth, who has yet to enroll, could be a one-and-done player. Facing a potential roster that would have its two tallest players – current redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith and five-star incoming F Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA) listed as 6-foot-8 – the Gators may have found some help in the form of current Duke redshirt sophomore F Alex Murphy. The brother of Erik Murphy, Alex has decided to leave the Blue Devils at the end of the fall 2013 semester and may very well be headed to Gainesville, FL. He would have to sit out two semesters per NCAA rules and would not be eligible until next spring, but Alex Murphy would nevertheless be a much-needed addition for UF. OnlyGators.com is still working to confirm his transfer destination as of press time.

3 » Florida found another way to disappoint its fans this week. In a story overlooked for the last few days by OnlyGators.com, UF’s basketball team made headlines by displacing 50 passengers on an Atlanta, GA-bound Sunday flight when Delta decided to help the Gators by chartering a new plane for the team to Storrs, CT for its showdown with UConn. According to The Gainesville Sun, a maintenance delay grounded the plane that the team usually charters, so Delta stepped in to help at the expense of customers that had already purchased tickets on the flight. “Passengers from flight 5059 were accommodated on other flights and given vouchers valid for use through Delta for future trips,” a spokesman told the paper. Florida has gone above and beyond to try and deflect any blame heading its way. The Gators have claimed ignorance regarding Delta’s decision, which he company took completely on its own shoulders.

Check out the statement and three more BITS…after the break!

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Noah, Murphy, Delta, volleyball, Tebow

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TWO BITS: Georgia Southern, Tip-Off, Chandler

1 » A previously published piece of film from the Florida Gators’ 2011 game against Tennessee has CBS’s broadcasters noting that head coach Will Muschamp, while an assistant at LSU, told Nick Saban that their team should not schedule the Georgia Southern Eagles due to the team’s difficult-to-defend triple option offense.

“Remember when Will told us about Nick Saban? … Will said that there was an opportunity to play Georgia Southern [while] at LSU. And WIll Muschamp said, ‘We don’t want to do it.’ And he spoke to Nick and Nick didn’t know what Georgia Southern did and said, ‘Yeah, no problem, that sounds good.’ And then Will said, ‘Nick, come here, I want to show you this triple option.’ Nick watched three plays, marched down to the AD’s office and said, ‘We’re not playing Georgia Southern.'”

The game against the Eagles was actually scheduled for the Gators while Urban Meyer was head coach of the program in May 2010. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was classmates with Georgia Southern AD Sam Baker at Ohio University (both earned master’s degrees in sports administration in 1976) and thought the game would be a good idea. Baker resigned in July 2012 after leading the program for 17 years.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Georgia Southern, Tip-Off, Chandler

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Fastbreak: No. 15 Gators chomp Dolphins 86-60

No. 13/15 Florida Gators basketball (5-1) won its fourth-straight game by ripping through the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-4) on Monday evening at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. Florida topped Jacksonville 86-60 for its most dominant victory – and first road win – of the season in a contest highlighted by the return of senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin following a six-game suspension.

OnlyGators.com breaks down the Gators’ win with The Fastbreak.

It was over when: The Gators extended their lead to 31 points with 13:44 to left in the game as senior forward Casey Prather completed an old-fashioned four-point play. Charging towards the hoop, Prather laid the ball in but drew a foul and went to the line. He missed the ensuing free throw but grabbed the rebound on the baseline and slammed it home to put UF up 66-35.

Prominent player: Prather continued to dominate just like he has all season, finishing 11-for-13 from the field for a game-high 27 points with five rebounds and three assists. He once again displayed great athleticism attacking the hoop and provided a ton of energy for his team on both ends of the court.

Significant stretch: Florida opened up the game by outscoring Jacksonville 19-7, using three triples from sophomore guard Michael Frazier II to take a double-digit lead just 3:45 into the game. UF never led by fewer than 11 points from that point forward. Frazier finished 5-for-6 from downtown, scoring 17 points on the evening.

Perfect play: With 9:47 remaining in the first half, Gators redshirt junior F Jacob Kurtz closed out on a three-pointer shot by Dolphins G Sam Hunt, rejecting it and powering the ball into the crowd. Two possessions earlier, Kurtz laid the ball in off a nice pass from junior guard Eli Carter, giving the emerging walk-on a couple nice plays in a row.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the…break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 15 Gators chomp Dolphins 86-60

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No. 15 Florida basketball at Jacksonville preview; Wilbekin to play first game of 2013-14 season

Location: Veterans Memorial Arena – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 8,500]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

(15) FLORIDA GATORS JACKSONVILLE DOLPHINS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Cliff Warren
Record: 4-1 Record: 2-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Sun
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

TV: FOX Sports Florida* (Larry Vettel, Bill Koss) [Channel Finder]
* Game airing live in north and central Florida. Replay on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

SiriusXM: 119 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: OFF

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Story: Gators up to No. 13/15 in new top 25 polls
» Story: PG Scottie Wilbekin reinstated after six-game suspension
» Notebook: Florida vs. Middle Tennessee post-game report
» The Fastbreak: Breaking down No. 14/16 Florida running through MTSU 79-59

HISTORY / STATS / STREAKS

» Florida is 29-5 all-time against Jacksonville, boasting a 10-1 record under Donovan. UF is also 26-1 against current Atlantic Sun teams since Donovan took over.
» The Gators are 8-0 all-time at Veterans Memorial Arena.
» UF is set to play four of its next six games – contests that span from Nov. 25 to Dec. 21 – away from home starting with Monday’s contest against JU.
» Florida is playing its fourth game in the last 10 days.
» The Gators swept the Global Sports Challenge exempt event with four victories over North Florida, Arkansas-Little Rock, Southern and Middle Tennessee State.
» Florida is 4-3 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all three losses coming away from its home court.
» The Gators are 58-8 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 0-7 dating back to last season in games decided by single digits.
» UF’s defense has started off allowing just 59.2 points per game through five contests, making it the stingiest in the SEC. Four-straight opponents have failed to reach 60 points against the Gators.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. Florida has him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.
» Donovan (419) enters the game 29 wins behind Dale Brown (448) for second-most in SEC history. He is currently the longest-tenured head basketball coach in the league.

Continue Reading » No. 15 Florida basketball at Jacksonville preview; Wilbekin to play first game of 2013-14 season

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FOUR BITS: softball, tennis, baseball, basketball

1 » No. 4 Florida Gators softball (23-1) continued its stellar start to the 2013 season by upending the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (22-1) on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, AL. Florida handed Alabama its first loss of the season in the non-conference showdown (the game was scheduled outside of league play) by scoring six runs in the final two innings to turn a 4-2 deficit into an 8-4 victory. Junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers (11-1, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R [2 ER], 3 BB, 5 K) threw well but was victimized by a pair of untimely errors before leaving the contest. Sophomore RHP Lauren Haeger (1.0 IP, 2 BB, 4 K) replaced her in relief and ensured that the Gators maintained the advantage they gained early in the top of the seventh. A two-RBI double by freshman pinch hitter Taylore Fuller (1/2, 2 RBI) put Florida ahead in the seventh. Haeger (2/3, RBI, R, BB), senior right fielder Kelsey Horton (2/4, RBI, R) and junior third baseman Stephanie Tofft (2/4, RBI, R) each knocked in runs for the Gators.

2 » No. 5 Florida women’s tennis (8-2) bounced back from its tough loss on Sunday with a 4-0 sweep of the No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (8-3) on Wednesday in Tallahassee, FL. The Gators debuted some new doubles pairings in the contest after struggling to win the doubles point in recent matches. The switch worked out for Florida on Wednesday as it took the doubles point before running through singles action as No. 11 junior Sofie Oyen earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory, No. 1 Lauren Embree picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win, and No. 53 junior Alex Cercone took her match 6-4, 6-3. UF improved to 53-1 all-time against FSU, according to the school.

3 » Gators baseball (7-7) has fought hard over the last four games to get its record back to .500 after losing six-straight games from Feb. 20 to March 1. In a home-and-home series against the Jacksonville Dolphins (4-9) on Tuesday and Wednesday, Florida came from behind twice to pick up a pair of victories. On Tuesday, the Gators trailed 5-4 heading into the top of the seventh but scored four runs over the final three innings to pick up the 8-5 victory in Jacksonville, FL. Back at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday, Florida rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth including a walk-off RBI single by sophomore PH Connor Mitchell (1/1, RBI) that brought home senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit (3/4, 2 R, BB), who was intentionally walked earlier in the wild frame. UF looks to extend its four-game winning streak this weekend when it hosts Indiana for a three-game series from Friday-Sunday.

4 » Nine-seed Gators women’s basketball (18-13) delivered in the first round of the 2013 SEC Tournament on Thursday, taking down the eight-seed Arkansas Razorbacks (18-12) to advance to the quarterfinals against one-seed Tennessee on Friday at noon. Florida pulled off the 64-59 victory by going on a game-ending 10-2 run to erase a three-point deficit late in the contest. Junior guard Jaterra Bonds scored a game-high 17 points (12 in the second half) by hitting 10-of-12 free throws; she made just 3-of-10 field goals. Freshman G Sydney Moss also struggled from the field (3-of-11) but was just as solid from the line, draining 7-of-8 attempts to finish with 13 points.

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